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KH-4 Corona (Agena-D based)

KH-4 18 [USAF]

The KH-4 (Keyhole-4) was fourth version in the Corona-program to build an optical reconnaissance satellite. Only the first two satellites were launched under the name Discoverer, before this designation was dropped.

The KH-4 payload introduced a second camera to provide stereoscopic imaging. The Corona-M or Mural camera consisted of two C''' (Corona triple-prime) cameras inherited from KH-3. The cameras were mounted with 30 degrees separation angle. The two cameras are referred to as fore (for forward looking) and aft (for rear looking). KH-4 also carried a 4 cm index camera, with a focal length of 38 mm, a ground resolution of 162 m, and frame coverage of 308 km × 308 km. The Film was returned by a single General Electric return vehicle (SRV, Satellite Return Vehicle). The Mural-camera was built by Itek Corporation and had a ground resolution of 7.5 m.

The satellite was based on the Agena-D upper stage, which provided attitude control in orbit. The film return capsule carried its own small solid-fuel retro motor to deorbit at the end of the mission with mid-air recovery of the returning capsule by a specially equipped aircraft.

Earlier KH-4 missions were based on the Agena-B stage.

Secondary Payloads

Some missions featured piggy-back payloads, which remained connected to the Agena-D stage.

  • KH-4 7 carried the Taki 2 (Aftrack 23) ELINT payload (?) and the GRD-N-Payload No. 4 (HSRP 8)
  • KH-4 10 carried an Aerospace Corp Package (Starfish package ?)
  • KH-4 11 carried the RM 3 radiometer payload for background measurements for the MIDAS program
  • KH-4 13 carried the RM 4 radiometer payload (identical to RM 3) for background measurements for the MIDAS program
  • KH-4 16 carried the Red Vino 1 (Aftrack 28/Mission 7203) ELINT payload
  • KH-4 17 carried the Taki 3 (Aftrack 29/Mission 7204) ELINT payload and the Aerospace 4-Color TAEP for the MIDAS program
  • KH-4 18 carried the New Jersey 2 (Aftrack 30/Mission 7205) COMINT payload
  • KH-4 19 carried the Red Vino 2 (Aftrack 31/Mission 7206) ELINT payload and the LPARL Aurora 1963a Research Module
  • KH-4 21 carried the Wild Bill 3 (Aftrack 32/Mission 7207) ELINT payload to search for signals from the HEN HOUSE ABM/AES radar at Sary Shagan and the EROS reflector experiment
  • KH-4 24 carried the RM 5 radiometer payload for background measurements for the MIDAS program
  • KH-4 25 carried the Long John 2 (Aftrack 35/Mission 7219) ELINT payload
  • KH-4 26 carried the Long John 1 (Aftrack 36/Mission 7218) ELINT payload

Two missions carried small satellites into orbit.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Reconnaissance, photo (film return type)
Operator: CIA
Contractors: Lockheed
Equipment: Mural-camera, index camera
Configuration: Agena-D, 1 SRV
Propulsion: Bell 8096, Star-12 retro motor
Power: Batteries
Lifetime:
Mass: ~1200 kg (incl. Agena stage)
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
KH-4 7 (Corona 45, Taki 2) 1962 αγ 28.06.1962 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 10 (Corona 48) 1962 ακ 1 02.08.1962 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 11 & RM 3 (Corona 49) 1962 ασ 29.08.1962 Va 75-1-2 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 13 & RM 4 (Corona 52) 1962 ββ 29.09.1962 Va 75-1-2 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 16 (Corona 57, Red Vino 1) 1962 βσ 04.12.1962 Va 75-1-2 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 17 (Corona 58, Taki 3) 1962 βφ 14.12.1962 Va 75-3-5 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 18 (Corona 59, New Jersey 2, OTV 0048, FTV 1157) 1963-002A 07.01.1963 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 19 (Corona 60, Red Vino 2, OPS 0583) 1963-F02 28.02.1963 Va 75-3-5 F Thor-SLV2A Agena-D
KH-4 20 (Corona 62, OPS 0720, FTV 1660) 1963-007A 01.04.1963 Va 75-3-5 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 21 (Corona 65, Wild Bill 3, OPS 0954) 1963-019A 12.06.1963 Va 75-3-4 Thor-SLV2A Agena-D
KH-4 22 (Corona 66, OPS 0999) 1963-025A 27.06.1963 Va 75-1-2 Thor-SLV2A Agena-D with Hitchhiker 1
KH-4 23 (Corona 67, OPS 1266) 1963-029A 19.07.1963 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 24 & RM 5 (Corona 73, OPS 2268) 1963-F14 09.11.1963 Va 75-1-2 F Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 25 (Corona 74, Long John 2, OPS 2260) 1963-048A 27.11.1963 Va LC-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-D
KH-4 26 (Corona 75, Long John 1, OPS 1388) 1963-055A 21.12.1963 Va 75-1-2 Thor-SLV2A Agena-D with Pundit 2